Cutting our own throat

I often wonder at the motivations of those who oppose exploiting the oil resources of arctic Alaska. The Arctic National Wildlife Reserve is a frozen wilderness most of the year, and a swamp for the brief summer. The breathtaking pictures used to sell the public on the idea that this is a pristine wilderness, sacred (or at least scenic) land like the Yosemite Valley are propaganda. No endangered species are threatened there.

Opponents of drilling in Prudhoe Bay predicted disaster for the moose and elk which never developed. Yet, the credibility of drilling opponents in ANWR remains high in the media, and consequently among the general public which doesn't take the time to get more information than what is spoon-fed to them in misleading pictures.

The fact is that our dependence on oil from the Middle East is a strategic liability of major proportion. Substituting a million barrels a day of domestic oil production, as would be possible from ANWR's currently-known reserves, would help a great deal. It wouldn't solve all our problems, but it is in the nature of our vast energy consumption that no one measure will solve all out problems.

Now, there is a threat to permanently close ANWR by declaring it a wilderness, where no further drilling or exploration can take place. Investors Business Daily writes:   
No longer content with merely blocking Republican attempts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration, Democrats have decided to make that ban permanent, forever protecting species that are in no demonstrable danger and that have flourished in nearby Prudhoe Bay.

While Cuba and China drill off the Florida Keys, Democrats worry about caribou. So do we, but not at the expense of American national and economic security.

On Friday, Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., introduced H.R. 39, legislation that would make the 1.2 million-acre coastal plain of the ANWR a permanently protected wilderness and end efforts to develop its energy resources for the benefit of the American people.
What few realize is that the reserves proven so far are likely to be a fraction of what lies waiting for us. Drillers do not waste money exploring the potential of oil deposits which are politically off limits. It is often the case with large discoveries that additional exploration yields far larger resources in similar geological structures elsewhere in the neighborhood. If ANWR is declared a wilderness, we may be putting ourselves in hock to the Saudis and Iranians even further, by denying substantial supplies to the oil market, enriching those who mean us no good.
I often wonder at the motivations of those who oppose exploiting the oil resources of arctic Alaska. The Arctic National Wildlife Reserve is a frozen wilderness most of the year, and a swamp for the brief summer. The breathtaking pictures used to sell the public on the idea that this is a pristine wilderness, sacred (or at least scenic) land like the Yosemite Valley are propaganda. No endangered species are threatened there.

Opponents of drilling in Prudhoe Bay predicted disaster for the moose and elk which never developed. Yet, the credibility of drilling opponents in ANWR remains high in the media, and consequently among the general public which doesn't take the time to get more information than what is spoon-fed to them in misleading pictures.

The fact is that our dependence on oil from the Middle East is a strategic liability of major proportion. Substituting a million barrels a day of domestic oil production, as would be possible from ANWR's currently-known reserves, would help a great deal. It wouldn't solve all our problems, but it is in the nature of our vast energy consumption that no one measure will solve all out problems.

Now, there is a threat to permanently close ANWR by declaring it a wilderness, where no further drilling or exploration can take place. Investors Business Daily writes:   
No longer content with merely blocking Republican attempts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration, Democrats have decided to make that ban permanent, forever protecting species that are in no demonstrable danger and that have flourished in nearby Prudhoe Bay.

While Cuba and China drill off the Florida Keys, Democrats worry about caribou. So do we, but not at the expense of American national and economic security.

On Friday, Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., introduced H.R. 39, legislation that would make the 1.2 million-acre coastal plain of the ANWR a permanently protected wilderness and end efforts to develop its energy resources for the benefit of the American people.
What few realize is that the reserves proven so far are likely to be a fraction of what lies waiting for us. Drillers do not waste money exploring the potential of oil deposits which are politically off limits. It is often the case with large discoveries that additional exploration yields far larger resources in similar geological structures elsewhere in the neighborhood. If ANWR is declared a wilderness, we may be putting ourselves in hock to the Saudis and Iranians even further, by denying substantial supplies to the oil market, enriching those who mean us no good.